Derided in 1592 as an “upstart crow”-- an arrogant literary hack from nowhere-- William Shakespeare spent his early professional years in London writing histories and comedies for the stage, eventually establishing his celebrity status. This course covers four remarkable plays from the first half of Shakespeare’s theatrical career: Henry V, a history from his tetralogy about medieval English monarchical drama, and The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, and Twelfth Night, comedies that indulge in shenanigans of love and intrigue.
We will discuss the texts in depth, focusing on genre, character, structure, language, and theme, and we will explore English history, the Elizabethan era, Renaissance theater culture, Shakespeare’s legacy, and stage and film adaptations of the plays.
Class sessions will involve seminar-style discussions, lectures, and video viewings. Requirements will be: two at-home essays, a short presentation, and a final research project.||en_US